Ukrainian Catholic Leader Calls For Arms, Humanitarian Aid in War With Russia

The Most Rev. Borys Gudziak, metropolitan archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia for the United States, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Associated Press

March 16, 2022

The Most Rev. Borys Gudziak, metropolitan archbishop of Philadelphia for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States, said food and clothing donations aren’t enough.

With the atrocities mounting from Russia’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine, the top leader of Ukrainian Catholics in the US is asking the world to help his homeland fight back.

The Most Rev. Borys Gudziak, metropolitan archbishop of Philadelphia for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States, said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday that there is an urgent need for armored ambulances, medical supplies, food — and arms.

“What good is it if you feed the stomachs of these children, these women, these people in cities, if their brains are going to be blown out, if their apartment buildings are going to be rendered into rubble?” Gudziak said. “There needs to be massive defensive and massive humanitarian aid.”

More than 3 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war, now in its third week, and thousands of soldiers and civilians, including women and children, have died.

Russia increased its offensive against the capital city of Kyiv on Tuesday, and civilians fled Mariupol along a humanitarian corridor in what was believed to be the biggest evacuation yet from the besieged port city.

Gudziak said it was “sad” to see the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church supporting President Vladimir Putin and the war, and he criticized Patriarch Kirill for giving a large icon of the Virgin Mary to a leader of the Russian national guard.

“This is happening in the biggest church in the capital of Russia. The patriarch is giving the mother of God to these war criminals,” the archbishop said.

Gudziak said one heartening response to the invasion has been a coming together of people from across a range of faith traditions.

“Orthodox, Catholics, east and west, Protestants, Muslims, Jews are united in a stance against this war and are working each and together for humanitarian aid to help people stand strong,” he said.

Associate Editor Patrick Berkery contributed to this report.

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